Saturday, November 22, 2014

What Causes Cavities?

Dental cavities are common and effect 90% of the population. In the early stages, they may not cause pain, but if they are left untreated they can continue to compromise the tooth and become painful and unsightly. Cavities are holes in the two outer layers of the tooth, called the enamel and the dentin. Both of these layers are in place to protect the pulp, the interior of the tooth. This is the living tissue where the blood vessels and nerves can be found. Scheduling regular dental check-ups that include a thorough cleaning and x-rays will alert your dentist to any problems before they become severe.

Where Do Cavities Come From?

Cavities are caused by tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria is allowed to find a home in the mouth. This particular bacteria feeds off certain types of sugars found in food and drink which is known as fermentable carbohydrates. If theses sugars are allowed to stay on the teeth, the bacteria feed on them and make an acid. A sticky film coats the teeth called plaque. Plaque consists of a combination of bacteria, acids, saliva, and food particles. This plaque softens the teeth and creates small areas of erosion which the bacteria enters and works to further the decay.

What Can I Do To Prevent Them?

The first defense against the formation of cavities is to eat right in the first place. Avoid sodas, sugary snacks, starchy foods, honey, hard candy, and even milk; all are foods which are known to create a great environment for bacteria to grow. The next line of defense is to brush and floss regularly. Your dentist can advise you as to the best and most effective cleaning techniques. Other ways to help avoid tooth decay include making sure that you receive enough fluoride and to have a sealant applied to your teeth. Particularly in children, fluoride helps to strengthen the tooth enamel which leads to fewer cavities. Sealants are applied to the back teeth to fill the nooks and crannies where bacteria can thrive. Sealants consist of a plastic coating that is painted onto the teeth in a painless procedure. Sealants have been successful in preventing tooth decay in young children as well as adults who are cavity prone.

Once a cavity is formed, your dentist may choose to fill your tooth with a silver dental amalgam, composite material, gold, or porcelain. Porcelain fillings are becoming more popular even though they are often as expensive as gold fillings. A great benefit to using porcelain to fill a cavity is that the color can be matched to the natural color of the tooth.

Taking the time to visiting a dental clinic regularly for a full check-up gives the dentist the opportunity to not only make you aware of any problems that may arise and advise you on the needed action, but it also allows the dentist to educate you or your child on proper dental hygiene.

Lawrenceville Dental Associates is a general dentistry practice that offers comprehensive dental care for patients in Lawrenceville and Gwinnett County. Ken Tralongo, CEO of Tralongo Management, and his practice are made up of a team of four highly trained and experienced Lawrenceville dentists, as well as a friendly and professional support staff.
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